Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy.

Capital gains tax on your possessions

By Ian Robinson

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Capital gains tax on your possessions

Some types of asset, particularly personal possessions you sell, are assessed differently for CGT. Not all gains are taxable.

Valuable possessions such as antiques and collectibles are called 'chattels' in tax speak. Any profit you make from selling certain types of possessions is tax-free; items with a predicted life of 50 years or fewer, known as 'wasting assets', are CGT-free, provided they were not eligible for business capital allowances. Antique clocks and vintage cars are treated as 'wasting assets', as are pleasure boats and caravans.    

If your gain is not tax-free, capital gains tax is charged in a special way. Your taxable gain is the lower of the actual gain, or five thirds (166%) of the excess of the final value over £6,000.

So, if you sell a pair of antique candlesticks that you originally bought for £5,000 for £7,000, the actual gain is £7,000 - £5,000 = £2,000. The gain under the special rules is 5/3 x (£7,000 - £6,000) = £1,666. Since this is lower, your taxable gain is £1,666.

  • Last updated: April 2017
  • Updated by: Tom Wilson

Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.